Richard Brennan, Owner of Ted Brennan Motors Ltd, a leading supplier of car and van parts based in Ireland discusses Ted4parts and whether Brexit has affected the way they do business.
Richard, could you provide some background about Ted4parts?
Founded by my father, Ted Brennan, the business successfully grew to become a leading auto repair centre approved by many leading insurance companies in Southern Ireland.
In 2012, the company diversified into recycling as they saw a gap in the market in terms of quality service in that industry. There was a focus on B2B customers who experienced the highs, the lows and all that goes with dealing with scrapyards; ‘the good old days’ is how it is often referred to by some.
Between the auto repair centre, parts, recycling and recovery and consultancy business, there are 26 full-time staff, and with the new site in Belfast opening, this will grow to 30 by the summer. COVID has slowed things down, but we are still working away, looking after customers and paying wages. It has impacted our 3-year vision, but we will focus on the things that we can control and hopefully, the pandemic will free us all soon (when the world lets us go back out to play) so we can enjoy and appreciate the many things we took for granted pre-pandemic; such as seeing family friends, going out to dinner, socialising, and taking a flight to somewhere in the sun whilst enjoying a cold beer – these are all things on my bucket list.
Now that Brexit has been agreed, and with your company operating close to the Irish border, can you explain what it means to import and export across the border?
For many years my insurance approved auto repair centre has relied on new parts coming across from the UK and Europe in a timely manner to speed up the key to key time of vehicles involved in an RTA (Road Traffic Accident).
This situation has brought a lot of stress on the people of Ireland, the UK and Europe, which is a concern for many companies. As a member of the committee for The VBRA of Ireland (The Vehicle Builders and Repairers Association), this has been a difficult time for the completion of repairs, affecting workshop flow, blocked up bays, car hire duration and very stressed out customers; which is our number one priority of business to avoid.
Ted4parts on the other hand has really embraced Brexit and it made us realise the close relationship we have with our partners in the UK in terms of supply both ways.
The sale of green parts has increased, and with positions on both sides of the border, we have been able to help speed up the repair of vehicles that almost looked impossible with new parts delays.
You have two operations on either side of the border, was this done purposely with Brexit in mind? What was the reasoning for you to do this, and what advantages does it bring in terms of exporting to Europe and into the UK?
With our main hub in southern Ireland, this has presented us with the opportunity to deal in the free movement of goods into Europe. Strategically, we also wanted the presence in Northern Ireland as that allows movement to the UK. After all, this amounts to 30% of the parts business.
Ted4parts is passionate and focused on growth in other regions, not just in Northern Ireland. With our experience and a new way of working in terms of e-commerce, green parts and quality at the forefront, new national contracts, similar to that of our Southern Ireland set up, are key to the business.
Were you exporting to Europe before Brexit? And since Brexit, have you seen any changes to the attitude with other dismantlers you work with?
We have supplied parts to many countries before Brexit. I believe with our main hub in Southern Ireland; the European market is closer. This connection has created more opportunities than ever before.
I think a lot of companies before have been trading solely with the UK, but with the EU, new networking/collaborations and opportunities which were previously not looked at before are now there; perhaps this could have something to do with language differences or the distance, but with some trial and error, we have developed an excellent partnership agreement concerning logistics and free flow of goods in a timely manner. These make all the difference when you want to be at the forefront of providing a quality service.
There were so many years of speculation as to what Brexit would mean. Now that we know what it means and giving some leeway as everything adjusts, what do you think the future holds for vehicle dismantling in connection to Brexit? Do you intend to continue forming strong relationships with those on both sides of the borders? And what do you think are the most important consideration’s dismantlers must make when exporting and importing between borders?
Our business model has always been about partnerships, and we have some excellent partners/ friends in the UK and Europe who serve our customer network. We work stronger as a team, and engaging with new affiliates not only helps our company grow, but for us, it is important that our partners grow also.
This can only get stronger in the future, and we desire to be the best and offer a professional service to our growing client base; we only see opportunity, and we focus on our vision.
With regard to exporting/importing, the key is relationships, sharing knowledge and being proactive, especially when it comes to improvement and quality. There will always be challenges, but the advantages outweigh the disadvantages when you enjoy and are passionate about what you are doing.
To export and import across borders, I believe being proactive and carrying out due diligence is the cornerstone of how successful it will be or not. If you don’t educate yourself and seek knowledge regarding best practice regarding tax, tariffs, laws and regulations, you will fall short.
To find out more about Ted4parts, visit www.ted4parts.com